Green is the new chic in today’s beauty industry. Companies worldwide are switching to sustainable, eco-friendly products — or so their packaging says. This makes it difficult to know which brands are being honest and transparent and which ones aren’t.
Beautyologie, an online marketplace, is lifting the smog off of sustainability and is here to help. The new e-commerce site scours the globe to find products that are out to genuinely save the earth and its people.
The Problem With The Beauty Industry
For every solution, a problem first originated. For the beauty industry, it’s the ugly side of creation and selling.
On a manufacturing level, the problems only worsen. Animal testing has been around since 1938. Rampant plastic and unsustainable ingredient usage are killing the planet.
Even broader still, the industry has exploited child labor and perpetuated gender inequality.
However, Robin Tolkan-Doyle, a 25-year beauty industry vet, is saying enough is enough.
How Beautyologie Began
It all started when Tolkan-Doyle traveled to India in 2020. As COVID-19 picked up speed, she decided to head back home. However, others in the Indian community didn’t have the same luxury of simply picking up and leaveing.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about these communities who weren’t able to leave, find shelter [or] be safe,” said Tolkan-Doyle.
She began to research, and to her surprise, Tolkan-Doyle found countless other communities facing similar issues. That’s when the Peruvian cooperatives asked Tolkan-Doyle to help by promoting their stories. So, she began to write.
“I wanted to help these people,” she explained. “How [could] I? My background is in beauty. That led me down this rabbit hole of finding the people that are in these situations that work in the beauty industry.”
This led to the creation of her beauty blog, Beautyologie.
The Transformation Of Beautyologie
However, paring down a $300 billion industry is not an easy task. And by expanding her search to the global level, Tolkan-Doyle’s work was cut out for her.
“There are so many beauty products, so many sites,” said Tolkan-Doyle. “I didn’t see a lot of focus on the stories behind the brands. Sustainability [is such a] huge topic in the beauty industry. Yet the people behind the scenes aren’t really talked about.”
In addition to being sustainable, Tolkan-Doyle wanted to make sure brands had “safe working conditions and gender equality,” and that they were “against child labor and [were paid] fair wages.”
Thus, Tolkan-Doyle’s blog evolved into an online platform promoting global beauty brands that house fair trade practices.
Taking The Guesswork Out Of Green
Beautyologie’s now curated marketplace features over 20 brands from 23 different countries. Moreover, its brand roster is constantly growing. But with so much greenwashing for sales’ sake, I was curious as to how Tolkan-Doyle was able to separate the Real McCoys from the phonies.
“Certifications do hold a lot of clout,” she explained. Though, she went on to say that they aren’t a hard requirement.
“Some of the brands I work with specifically have requirements. Other ones I work with don’t,” said Tolkan-Doyle. “It doesn’t necessarily mean [the brand is] any less clean or sustainable.”
Tolkan-Doyle also explained that certain certifications require jumping through many hoops and cost a pretty penny. Therefore, these certifications may be very challenging for small, clean brands to obtain.
That’s why Tolkan-Doyle looks for brands that are “super clear and honest on how they source their ingredients” instead of simply looking for a labeled certification.
This brand transparency includes listing who brands work with and where they source their ingredients from. If a brand is not transparent like this, Tolkan-Doyle encourages, “going on their website and asking [the brand]. If it’s still not clear, you might want to look for something else.”
“It’s not an easy thing to trace,” she added. “That’s where travel comes in. Being able to go directly to the source and see with your own eyes how they’re working is super important.”
And since traveling overseas to source your own makeup’s ingredients isn’t possible for many of us, Beautyologie does the hard work for us.
Harnessing Your Consumer Power
But beyond finding good-for-you brands, Beautyologie also seeks “to motivate people to make ethical and beautiful choices with their purchasing power.” That purchasing power, Tolkan-Doyle says, is critical.
“Think about where your money is going. Who is benefitting from this purchase that you’re making?” Tolkan-Doyle asked.
She posed another question: “If you had the choice between a major corporation and a brand that helps women make its products, which would you choose?”
“[Beautyologie wants] people to start paying more attention to where they’re spending their money,” said Tolkan-Doyle. “Every penny that you spend impacts something. If I’m going to spend this money, I want to make sure I’m doing something good in the world.”